Lawmakers pick up pieces after impeachment ordeal
February 13, 1999
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, February 13) -- With President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial over, Democrats and Republicans alike on Saturday scurried to show they could put the sordid matter of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal behind them and get on with the nation's business.
"I'm inclined to think that we'll move away from this rather quickly and get on with other things," said Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming). "But it depends on what the White House does."
After a brief statement of contrition on Friday following the Senate vote, Clinton moved on, using his weekly radio address on Saturday to take up the Kosovo issue.
The president pledged up to 4,000 U.S. troops to a NATO force in Kosovo, if Serbs and ethnic Albanians come to an acceptable peace agreement by a February 20 deadline.
Clinton's focus on an international issue was perhaps not surprising; he has had several successes in that arena during the past 13 months, while the Lewinsky scandal unfolded.
On the domestic front, Social Security and Medicare reform, rebuilding the nation's military and paying for more school teachers and more cops on the beat are high on Clinton's agenda for the remaining 23 months of his presidency.
Despite some fears about possible presidential "revenge" for the impeachment, even some conservative observers were predicting cooperation between the administration and the Republican-led Congress.
"I tend not to buy into the conventional wisdom that this has so soured relations between the White House and Capitol Hill that we're not going to see things get done," said Ralph Reed, a GOP strategist and former director of the Christian Coalition.
Still, some bitterness seeped into the words of politicians even as they crept toward reconciliation.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) admitted that he was relieved the impeachment trial was finished, and said that future historians would render the final judgment on the players in the process.
"This much has become clear: although most senators agreed that the president lied under oath while trying to obstruct justice, he will stay in office," Lott said. "But we must move forward on the people's business. We must do our job."
Whatever their personal feelings on the matter, both Democrats and Republicans have a vested interest in succeeding for the next two years.
"I think there's going to be an urge by the majority to demonstrate that they can produce legislation, not just impeachments and trials," said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut). "And the president clearly is going to want to show that there's something more to his legacy than having been impeached and tried."
Correspondents Bob Franken and Kathleen Koch contributed to this report.
Saturday, February 13, 1999
Decision to send troops to Kosovo gets mixed reaction on Capitol Hill
GOP moderates: Focus on issues, not Clinton
Starr vows to press on in Clinton investigation